Biewer Terriers are affectionate towards their owners, and will form strong, unique bonds with every member of the household.
Other Names: Biewer, Biewer Yorkshire Terrier, Biewer a la pom pom
Country Of Origin: Germany
Dog Group: Toy
Recommended For: Families, couples, single owners
Maintenance Level: Moderate
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Temperament: Friendly, alert, affectionate
Good For First-Time Owner: Yes
Good With Children: Yes
Good With Other Animals: Yes
Good With Strangers: No
Good For Apartments: Yes
Exercise Requirements: Daily walking
Can Live In Hot Weather: Yes
Can Live In Cold Weather: Yes
Can Tolerate Being Left Alone: Yes
There has been plenty of debate in dog breeding circles as to whether the Biewer Terrier is actually a distinct breed, or whether it’s still too closely related to its ancestor, the Yorkshire Terrier.
Biewers were bred in Germany by Mr and Mrs Biewer in the 1980s, but is now recognized as a distinct breed by the American Kennel Club.
Generally, Biewer Terriers are considered a hypoallergenic breed, and so are suitable for people with allergies.
However, the hypoallergenic label doesn’t mean everyone won’t have a reaction, as those affected by dog saliva are still in danger.
However, the Biewer Terrier makes a great family pet.
Color: Black, black and tan, piebald, brown
Height: 7-9 inches (both males and females)
Weight: 6-7lbs (both males and females)
Personality and Temperament:
The Biewer Terrier is a loyal and intelligent breed that makes a great companion pet. They love human attention, and are best when given plenty of it.
While not one of the most intelligent breeds, Biewer Terriers are still clever enough to have fun and unique personalities.
Biewer Terriers are relatively easy to train, but owners will need to be firm and consistent with their obedience training.
This should be started at a young age and continued throughout the dog’s life for the highest chance of success.
However, unlike some other breeds, Biewers will have difficulty learning more complex commands, but persistent owners will have a chance.
The breed is a great choice as a family pet, and gets on well with children. Ideally, older children are preferable, mainly due to the breed’s size and disposition, as young children might be too rough, which can be harmful to a small dog.
Socialization should begin as early as possible, and playtime is a great way to form strong bonds with the dog.
Biewer Terrier are known to have a tendency to bark when scared or threatened, which makes them a good choice as an alert dog.
Biewers can be wary around strangers, particularly when at home, but owners can attempt to train this behavior out.
However, Biewers will always feel protective of their property, and will definitely alert owners to approaching people.
Due to their size and exercise needs, Biewer Terriers are a good choice as an apartment dog.
Their role as a companion pet means they’re perfectly happy to sleep on their owner’s lap for most of the day and so should have little issue living in an apartment.
Providing they’re still given opportunities to go outside and plenty of playtime is offered, they’ll be very happy in an apartment.
In terms of exercise, Biewer Terriers do need to go out every day, but not for as long as more energetic breeds.
A quick 30-minute walk will usually be fine, as the breed doesn’t have particularly high stamina levels.
Exercise should be combined with mental stimulation, such as a game of fetch, in order to keep the dog happy and alert.
A lack of mental stimulation can result in boredom and depression, even in lapdog breeds.
Overall, Biewer Terriers are generally low maintenance, and so make a good choice for first-time owners.
They have relatively few health conditions, don’t need loads of exercise, and are reasonably easy to train, which are all bonuses for new owners.
However, Biewer Terriers are known to be expensive, and can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $6,000, depending on region and pedigree. This cost is probably enough to put most new owners off.
Biewer Terriers are generally happy and sociable dogs, and so are fine around other animals.
There isn’t the same level of danger around small pets as there is with large dogs, but owners should still be cautious leaving a Biewer Terrier around small rodents.
Terriers still retain quite a strong hunting instinct, even in such small dogs. Socialization with other dogs should be started as early as possible so the dog doesn’t develop bad habits.
Although the breed originates in Germany (and England), it’s generally fine to be kept in both warm and cool climates.
However, owners should be cautious in temperature extremes, as the breed has quite a flat face and so can’t regulate its temperature as efficiently. Owners in hot climates should just be aware of when they exercise the dog, and for how long.
Biewer Terriers have a long, soft coat that’s either worn long or cut short. Trimming the coat is best for the summer, and is much lower maintenance than a long coat.
A long coat should be brushed daily with either a comb or soft-bristle brush, but a short coat will only need weekly brushing.
Biewers with a long coat should be bathed every few weeks to keep their coat soft and shiny, but it’s important to use good quality grooming products as the breed has sensitive skin.
Due to the long hair around their ears, owners should check and clean them at least once a week.
This will help to prevent infection, as will trimming the ear hair occasionally. Teeth should be brushed several times a week because the breed is prone to dental issues, and nails should be checked and trimmed every few weeks.
Common Diseases and Conditions:
Biewer Terriers are known to have issue with their teeth due to the size and shape of their jaw.
It’s important to keep their teeth in good condition, but even so it’s not uncommon for dogs to begin losing them later in life.
There’s little that can be done about this other than regular brushing.
Biewers are also known to have sensitive digestive systems, which can sometimes result in stomach upsets.
As an occasional thing this isn’t really abnormal, but if it persists then it’s best to get it checked out.
Knowing the breed is prone to an issue can sometimes lead to inactivity, especially if a stomach upset is almost normal for the breed.
Other than these conditions, Biewer Terriers are known to suffer from common purebred issues, such as luxating patella, hip and elbow dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy.
All of these will be tested for by breeders, but it’s best to get regular checkups at the vet to catch any conditions early.
The history of the Biewer Terrier is an interesting, and very recent one. A German couple, Mr and Mrs Biewer, bred and showed Yorkshire Terriers throughout the 1970s and ‘80s.
However, they then began to lose interest with the standard breed, and so looked to develop their own.
The first piebald Yorkshire Terrier was born in one of their litters in 1984. Until then, only black and tan dogs were allowed.
The piebald gene was very rare in Yorkshire Terriers, and they decided this was enough to classify them as a new breed. They were named Biewer Yorkshire Terriers after the owners.
The first Biewer Terrier was seen in public in 1986, and demand immediately skyrocketed for the dogs.
However, the Biewers weren’t able to keep up with demand, and so other breeders attempted to replicate their success by crossbreeding certain dogs to overcome the rarity of the piebald gene.
These dogs weren’t considered real Biewer Terriers though.
By the late ‘80s the Biewers phased out their breeding program as Mr Biewer became ill, so they didn’t have the resources to continue.
However, by this point enough of the original Biewer Terriers were with enough responsible breeders that they were able to continue.
The Biewer Terrier was introduced to the USA in 2003, and a debate began about whether it was a distinct breed.
A veterinary company decided to use genetics to establish this, and so the Biewer was the first dog in history to be defined using science in this way.
The Biewer Terrier is still an incredibly rare breed, which is why it costs so much, even from responsible breeders.
Biewer Terrier Facts & Figures
Did You Know?
- The breed standard was established by Mars Veterinary in 2009 after several years of genetic testing.
- The first Biewer Terrier were owned by German singer, Margot Eskens, who suggested the name “Biewer Terrier a la pom pom.” However, this name never really stuck.
- Biewer is actually pronounced “beaver.”
- Although considered a hypoallergenic breed, the Biewer Terrier can still cause reactions in people sensitive to dog saliva.
- The breed is so rare that there are only a handful of breeders worldwide, meaning most owners will need to get the dog imported, most likely from Germany or the USA.